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Tampa’s top tickets in 2009

It’s just the first week of 2009 and Tampa is up for another prime year of entertainment. Montage has selected its monthly picks this semester for events you’d be crazy to miss.

January

R&B artist John Legend will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Jan. 29. Legend gained attention in 2004 with the release of his first solo album, Get Lifted, before which he made ends meet playing backup keyboards and working jazz clubs.

In October, Legend launched his third studio album, Evolver, and his performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall is part of the album’s promotional tour. A consistently great artist showcased in a great venue makes Legend the big ticket for January. Tickets are on sale now starting at $46 and up to $79.50 for front row.

Runners-up: Bryan Adams at Ruth Eckerd Hall — Jan. 8

Wu Tang Clan at Jannus Landing Courtyard — Jan. 16

February

This millennium has brought a big change to the world of professional fighting — boxing is on its deathbed and mixed martial arts is the king of the ring. Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Fight Night 17 will be held Feb. 7 at the Sun Dome.

UFC is the hottest ticket wherever it travels. Tickets are on sale only for UFC Fight Club members, but starting prices for non-members will run from $40 to $250 at ringside.

Runners-up: Adult Swim Presents at the State Theatre — Feb. 7

Julio Iglesias at Ruth Eckerd
Hall — Feb. 11

March

Britney is back. Montage selected her performance at the St. Pete Times Forum not necessarily because she is a great musician but because Britney Spears has risen again.

This is a person who was made an icon at age 16 and since then has had her entire life under examination by every TMZ, Enquirer and Star reporter. From her failed marriage to driving with her infant son in her lap to her shiny shaven head, America has seen it all.

Spears has somehow shaken all that off and emerged from the ashes. Her music is still as bubblegum as ever, but it’s hard to pass up seeing a legend in the flesh.

Runners-up: Robin Williams at the Sun Dome — March 7

Snoop Dogg at Jannus Landing Courtyard — March 7

April

The Broadway production of the hit musical Chicago is coming to the Progress Energy Center’s Mahaffey Theater from April 24 to 26. The show is a continuation of the 1996 production, which is now the longest-running Broadway revival of all time.

The production got an extra boost in 2002 with the release of the film
adaptation, which received an Academy Award for Best Picture.

The St. Petersburg performance will not include the full Broadway cast and crew, but it should impress nonetheless.

Runners-up: Katy Perry at Jannus Landing Courtyard — April 28

Legally Blonde: The Musical at Ruth Eckerd Hall — April 7-12

May

Not much has been announced for this late in the season, but the top ticket as it stands is BAM Percussion, a musical ensemble dedicated to providing both astonishing drumming skill and buckets of slapstick comedy.

Don’t mistake BAM Percussion for a cheap knockoff of Blast! or Stomp. With crowd involvement and a drum workshop after every performance, BAM is an interactive family experience fun for all ages. BAM Percussion will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall on May 17.

Runners-up: Rain: The Beatles Experience at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center — May 16-17

Spring Jazz Jam at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center — May 15

For more entertainment updates throughout the year, visit the Montage Blog at usforacle.com.